Martin Schulz

PES Candidate for the presidency of the European Commission


The PES candidate for the Commission presidency seems unlikely to take that position after the Socialists failed to overtake the EPP in the European elections, but placed himself firmly on the European political map.

Schulz, who wants to return to the leadership of the Socialists in the European Parliament as the top jobs are discussed, may still have his eye on a job as High Representative or commissioner, although Angela Merkel is thought to resist nominating the Social Democrat to the Commission.

Martin Schulz, born in 1955, was elected President of the European Parliament in January 2012. He had previously been leader of the Socialist Group, a post to which he was first elected in 2004. As leader of the Socialists, he campaigned for social justice, promoting jobs and growth, reforming financial markets, fighting climate change, championing equality and creating a stronger and more democratic Europe.

Schulz has been an MEP since 1994. He took on the leadership of the German SPD delegation from 2000 and became a vice-president of the Socialist Group. In was in this post that he (somewhat inadvertently) came to wider public attention in 2003, when the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, likened him to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

A bookseller by trade, he ran his own bookstore in Würselen from 1982 until his election as an MEP. His previous ambitions to be a professional footballer were dashed due to injury – a disappointment that led him to drink heavily. He is now teetotal.

Married with two children, Schulz’s hobbies include reading, history and football. Among his favourite books is The Leopard, by Tomasi di Lampedusa, and books of British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm.